Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Not A Good Day

We went to visit my dad Sunday afternoon, after church and after our regularly scheduled naps. It's been awhile, and more awhile than it should have been. When the car got smashed, the trip to the nursing home got moved back a couple more days.

I told my mom that we would probably be there around 3:00 or so, but I overslept, and we didn't make it until almost 4:00. My mom and dad were down in the visitor's lounge playing Yahtzee. They were almost done. Both of them had gotten Yahtzees. It looked like a pretty good game.

I don't think my dad really knew who I was, at least right away. He was very confused and crabby. He kept asking what we were doing next, by which he meant, something interesting, not going to supper or watching Lawrence Welk.

He wanted to go to California.

And he thought my mother was being very very unreasonable because she wasn't packing their bags right away.

Writing this now, it seems kind of funny, but actually he was being kind of mean about it at the time. He kind of accused me of being "on my mom's side." And he said a lot of things that didn't make sense at all.

I've done a lot of visiting in hospitals and nursing homes through the years, and I'm used to people who are having trouble with reality. I can go with the flow in conversation with the best of them. I did that some, on Sunday.

But I'll tell you, it's not the same when it's your dad.

When he told my mom and me he wanted us to leave the room so that he could talk to my husband alone, I was figuring he thought there was some kind of great big conspiracy against him. I was pretty sure he thought my husband was someone else, perhaps a representative of the nursing home, or someone who could help him in some way.

I don't really know what to say sometimes, when people ask me, "How's you dad?" He does have good days, and he has bad days. My mom said that my neice was visiting about a week ago, and they had a really good time. So, I hope there are more good days on the horizon, more days when we can sing or tell a joke, or remember something from the old days. I hope there are a couple of times left when I'm not the enemy, when I see the old smile and the twinkly eyes and know he feels all right.

20 comments:

Elaine Dent said...

It is so very painful to watch our parent slowly leave the knowing of us and leave behind the kind of person we have known. I am certainly sorry. I hope writing about it helps you as much as your writing brings back fond but sad memories for me.

Fran said...

Oh Diane, it is so, so hard. And it is not at all the same when it is your dad.

I am praying for you all.

Mompriest said...

very hard when it's your own dad or family member. You will have more good days. And, you all continue in my prayers..

ljcollins said...

Oh, Diane, I know whereof you speak. Hang in there. And remember, you aren't the pastor, you're the daughter. It's a completely different experience.

DogBlogger said...

(((((Diane)))))

Mary Beth said...

(o)

Wormwood's Doxy said...

What the others said, Diane. It's always a whole new ballgame when it's YOUR parent.

Love and prayers to you...
Doxy

zorra said...

I know it is so hard. I've been there. But from what you've shared about your dad and how he's been doing, I would bet that there will still be some more days when your dad knows exactly who you are, and you laugh together again.

((Diane))

zorra said...

I know it is so hard. I've been there. But from what you've shared about your dad and how he's been doing, I would bet that there will still be some more days when your dad knows exactly who you are, and you laugh together again.

((Diane))

Rev SS said...

(((Diane)))

Magdalene6127 said...

Ah. The pain you are in comes through so clearly in this post. As others have affirmed, it's not the same when it's your dad.

A couple of years ago there was a piece in the NY Times about this power couple, a doctor and a psychologist, both of whom specialize in gerontology/ geriatrics. And they work with elder/infirm folks all the time. And when it was their own parents, they said, they had no idea what to do. They had no idea it would be so hard.

It's not the same when it's your beloved parent.

(((Diane)))

Lauralew said...

It is like I found out last year in my mom's illness--not the same, so not the same. Hugs to you!

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

Yes, it is hard. I've done care taking for an elderly woman and I could let the stuff she said slide off of me, but her sisters couldn't. Our moms are in their 90s and have other major problems, but lack of clear thinking isn't one of them. But my mom lost all initiative and sociability when she had her stroke, both of which were her strong traits before, so visiting her is entirely different than before.

I'm friends with a woman in her mid 50s who has lost all cognitive function. That is both sad and scary.

Mrs. M said...

I'm so sorry, Diane.

Perovskia said...

Been there; it's tough. Hang in there. *hugs*

六福村 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hot Cup Lutheran said...

be gentle to yourself...
and you are wise to differentiate between public ministry, and personal challenge. prayers...

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

It really is different when it's your dad. I'll never forget the day mine looked me straight in the face and said, "Who are you?" I was the last of the family (wife and children) to experience the non-recognition but that didn't make it any easier.

But it's usually not a once for all deterioration. You will have more good days. And he may even still tell you things that you will cherish all your life. I know that my father did, even after the "Who are you?" day.

Hugs and prayers.

Kievas said...

Joining in prayer with everyone here.

Crimson Rambler said...

Aie, aie, aie, Diane...been there. And it is hard, hard. (((Diane)))